Bosnia is without a doubt one of the most captivating and unique places in the world. The people, food, and physical landscape are second to none. What is also astounding, and I think seldom acknowledged, is how lucky we are as American graduate students to experience Bosnia from a perspective of privilege. I know not everyone from the States who reads this would categorize themselves as “privileged”. All of us here come from a diverse set of backgrounds, socioeconomic rungs, and tribulations. Most us of, myself included, look at our current government with dismay and are deeply worried about the future. Yet, here we are in a country that is still healing from a brutal civil war, that has around a 40% unemployment rate, and an average monthly salary that would barely cover even a modest rent rate in Denver.
We have the privilege of eating out most nights, enjoying copious amounts of good wine and beer, and traveling around not only Bosnia but the surrounding region enjoying a plethora of activities and tours. For the average Bosnian, the life style we are able to live here is well out of reach. Relative to Bosnians we have job security that they could only dream of. Even though it may be taxing, most of us, it not all of us will be employed within a year of graduation. We also do not have the constant presence of foreign peacekeepers in our country nor do many of us have a personal experience with war. Thus, I think it is important from time to time, while we experience everything this amazing country has to offer, to take a step back and reflect on how fortunate we are to be here in the capacity we are.
Our country is by no means perfect and I will be one of the first to offer a host of criticisms. There are so many things about Bosnian culture and the way of life here that I would love to export back to the States. However, we are also privileged to come from where we do and experience Bosnia in the way we are, and that is something I am exceedingly grateful for.